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LINGUIST List 20.3366

Tue Oct 06 2009

Calls: Lang Acquisition, Applied Ling/United Kingdom

Editor for this issue: Kate Wu <katelinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Angeliek van Hout, Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills

Message 1: Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills
Date: 06-Oct-2009
From: Angeliek van Hout <a.m.h.van.houtrug.nl>
Subject: Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills
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Full Title: Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills

Date: 22-Jan-2010 - 24-Jan-2010
Location: Londond, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Angeliek van Hout
Meeting Email: Costrug.nl
Web Site: http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/cost/

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2009

Meeting Description:

Two children in every classroom across Europe suffer from Specific Language
Impairment (SLI), meaning that they have problems learning language. Language is
one of the key skills that children need in order to succeed in education and in
later life; without it, children may fail to reach their potential. Early
assessment of language skills, to identify children who have SLI, is essential.
Yet migration and multilingualism may make it difficult to assess whether
children have the necessary language skills to access the school curriculum, and
diagnosing SLI across Europe is a challenge. SLI is costing Europe more than 250
billion Euros a year. That's equivalent to 1% of GDP, enough to bail out a
medium-sized bank. Like the world banking crisis, it must be addressed at an
international level. In a unique initiative, scientists from 25 European
countries (and close neighbours), and representing 25 languages (covering the
major European language families: Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Baltic, Greek and
Romani and also Finno-Ugric and Semitic) have worked together to investigate the
critical language skills that children need to learn. We have created an
assessment that is comparable across languages, with 13 subtests that test
critical skills in grammar, semantics and pragmatics. This work allows us to
assess whether a child has the key language abilities needed for education and
life-long learning in languages across the EU, and can serve as a template for
other languages too.

This work provides the necessary platform for politicians, professionals and
scientists alike to take up the reins to collaboratively address the severe
socio-economic cost of our children's lost potential. We are therefore bringing
together a unique team of experts from across the EU - politicians,
ducationalists, health specialists, scientists and parents to address this
challenge at a ground-breaking international conference.

Call for Papers

The conference aims to:
- Establish an agenda for a political and interdisciplinary European effort to
address language and communication impairments, in order to help prevent the
enormous socioeconomic loss that they incur.
- Communicate (and demystify) knowledge of learning of critical language
abilities and their assessment across 25 languages, to facilitate the education,
health and social welfare of children. In this way, children's strengths and
weaknesses can be identified early, and children helped to reach their potential.
- Build on our findings, establish a way forward to how children can be helped
through being better able to access life-long education and learning across all
25 languages.
- Develop a commitment from member countries to put language and communication
skills at the top of the agenda for investment in research, education and health.

Keynotes:
Stephen Crain, Macquarie University, Australia
Tbc: The Hon Ed Balls, MP Secretary of State, Department of Children, Families
and Schools UK Government.
The EU Commissioner for Science and Education
The EU Commissioner for Multilingualism

Scientific presentations by the working groups of COST Action A33:
Heather van der Lely, Harvard University and UCL
Uli Sauerland, Centre for General Linguistics (Zas), Berlin
Angeliek van Hout, University of Groningen
Na'ama Friedman, University of Tel Aviv
Ken Drozd, Hanze University, Groningen
Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar Ilan University
Spyridoula Varlokosta, University of Athens

Abstract submission information:
- The deadline has been extended to Oct 15 because of an email server crash. If
you submitted an abstract before Sept 23, it has gone lost. Please submit it again.

Abstracts are invited for poster presentations, on any topic relating to
language development and developmental language disorders. Abstracts must be
written in English and include the following:

Cover Page
- Title of presentation
- Authors' names and affiliations
- Name, address, telephone number and email address of contact person

Abstract
Title of presentation
- Summary of research undertaken (500 words maximum, single spaced)
- Do not include authors' names

Abstracts must be submitted as an attachment to an email to Angeliek van Hout,
chair of the reviewing committee, at: Costrug.nl. The deadline for submissions
is 15 October 2009, and authors will be notified of the committee's decision by
early November.
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